Monday, October 10, 2011

Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau and Home Art School-Week 1

Philomena And Procne. Oil 24.49" X 31 1/2 ", Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau

One of my favorite art blogs is Matthew Innis' Underpaintings.When you have a bit of time I heartily recommend you check his blog out. I can easily spend hours looking at and thinking about all the art and links and information he puts up on his blog. The following information, however, doesn't come from his blog but was a link from his Facebook wall. It was a link to an article on The Forgotten Female Artists of the 19th Century, written in Epoch Times. The first name mentioned caught my eye as her husband William Adolphe Bouguereau's work is quite popular at this time. She is none other than Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau and an accomplished artist in her own right. Her work is definitely in the same manner as her husbands but has differences that are her own. To be honest, from what I have seen of her work, I prefer her paintings over her husband's. A bit more information on her can be found with the link I attached to her name. Some images of her work can also be viewed either by googling her name and clicking on "Images" or at the Art Renewal Center website here.
Her history, what is accounted for,  is a bit colorful as is many women artists of the past. Perhaps the particular challenges and difficulties that these women have had to face requires a certain strength of mind and willingness to bend conventions.
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau had quite a few accomplishments in her own right but definitely stands in the shadow of her famous husband, with pride, I might add. She appeared to have embraced that criticism. With her accomplishments in what would today be considered art marketing, one has to wonder about her influence on her husbands career!
The painting at the beginning of this post is a wonderful sample of her work. I obtained the picture from the Art Renewal Center website linked above.
The first week of the third year of my own humble education went well. I spent a bit more time than I had anticipated getting things set up and in place but I did manage to keep to the schedule I made. It felt good. Still a bit daunting but I am thinking that it will work nicely. I worked on a color study and took a picture of the beginning color stage:
It has moved beyond this point as I took this at the beginning of the week. I also worked on my first self-portrait, in graphite on drawing paper. Yikes! It was a bit startling to me to study-with-the-intent-to-draw my own middle-aged face. I wasn't critical of the way I look, it was just that taking note of the changes that have happened over time was a bit disconcerting at first. I guess I really don't spend a lot of time looking at my face. I now have the beginnings of a recognizable self  image looking back at me from the paper. Perhaps I will get used to it in time as I will be using myself as a model for portrait work to get the basics down before luring others into my studio.
I also enjoyed working on a personal composition. I am in the planning and sketching stage. There are quite a few I would like to do but I am starting with a painting that includes a self portrait for some of the same reasons I have mentioned before. I figured I can always revisit the work when my skills improve and I will have the same model (albeit a bit older!).  The painting will also require another plein air trip just up the road so hopefully the weather and tides will cooperate soon.
Week 2 will be a busy one and hopefully will get a bit more done now that things are set up and in place. Thanks to the folks that have left comments, they are appreciated. Blogger still will not let me respond to them in each post and I have not had any response from Blogger to my inquiries.
On to week 2! -Renee

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